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Proceedings of the Society. cxix 

The following iDreseuts were announced to have been received, and 
thanks were given to the donors : — 

Fob the Library. 

From the Aoademy. — Trans., Royal Academy of Science, Denmark. 

From the Editor. — Medical Press and Circular. 

From the Authoe. — Kev. F. Fothergill Cooke, Authorship of the 

practical Electric Telegraph. 
From the Society. — Proceedings of the Roj'al Society, xvi, 98. 
Anon. — Social-Juristische Studien, 5th Part. 
From the Society. — Journal of the Eoyal Asiatic Society of Bengal, 

Part i, No. 2, 1867. 
From the Society. — Royal Society of Sciences of Saxony, Der Methode 

d. Klemsten Quadrate. Berichte d. Math. Phj's. Classe 1866-67. 
From the Editor. — Proceedings American Anthrop. Soc, 1867. 

For the Museum. 
From Dr. Cantow. — Skull of a Negro. 

Mr. Dendy exhibited an egg-cup which he had extracted from the 
ileum of a man after death, as illustrative of the great endurance of 
human organisation. 

The Rev. J. D. Wood exhibited two specimens of Indian manu- 
facture which he considered very remarkable. One of them was an 
ornament made from the gum jade of China, so extremely hard that it 
only be cut by its own dust, and in the centre of it there was a disc 
which had beeir cut out of the stone, so that it cou.ld rotate in its own 
groove ; it was taken out of the private apartment of the Queen of 
Oude, but what it was meant for he could not say ; it might be an 
amulet. The other article was a dress, with legs and arms, made in 
one piece, but so small that it was difficult to conceive how anj' 
person could have gone into it. 

Mr. Harris and Capt. Babington stated that it was a kind of dress 
not uncommon on the west coast of Africa, and that such dresses were 
worn by men as well as by girls and boys. 

A jaw-bone, found in a Roman sewer in the city of London, was 
contributed by Mr. Lyle. 

A communication from Mr. Henry Smythies, of New Zealand, was 

A paper on the Hovas of Madagascar, by Lieut. Oliver, was then 

The island is situated at a distance of four hundred miles from the 
coast of Africa, and would appear never to have been connected with 
that continent. It is peopled by races as peculiar in their \^■ay as any 
races can be, and offering very marked pre-eminence over the Negro. 
They may be termed Oceanic rather than African. The general name 
of Malag-asy has been given to the tribes, but to themselves they are 
known only by their tribal names. There are no traces in Madagascar 
of a jjrimseval civilisation ; but the Malagasy have considerably taught 

oxx Jotirnal of the Anthropological Societt/. 

themselves. They have domesticated oxen and pigs, and made some 
progress in the cultivation of rice, yams, etc. Their religion is but 
recent, having been invented by the tipper classes to control the lower. 
They are, however, receptive of superstition. Their language possesses 
a well-constructed grammar, but without written forms. There would 
seem to be two special tyj)es of man in the island ; one marked by 
small stature and a comparatively fair complexion (comprising the 
Hovas, the Betanimena, and two other tribes) ; the other remarkable 
for a larger structure and deep brown or even black skins. These 
latter form the aboiiginal population. Although black, these are evi- 
dently not Negroes proper, and even the dress of the Malagasy shows 
that they have derived none of their ideas from the continent. The 
population of tlie island is roughly stated at 5,300,000. 

The physiognomy of the Hovas is Mongol, with affinities to the 
Malays. They form, although the least numerous, the governing race, 
and take the command of the army and administer the state. Though 
small of stature they are well-proj)ortioned and graceful in carriage, 
but they are not capable of great physical endurance. Their heads 
are well-shaped, with high foreheads, marked intellectual capacity, 
small, often aquiline nose. The hair of late years has been out short ; 
the women wear their hair elaborately dressed. Gi'ey hair is carefully 
pulled out. The complexion is olive. They are not natives of the 
central province of Ankova, though they occupy it ; their original seat 
is unknown. Next to them in intelligence rank the Betsimasaraka 
and Betamina ; they are supposed to have arisen from the intermixture 
of the aboriginals of the east coast and the remnants of an Arab colony. 
The second division of the Malagasy population consists of the black 
races ; they are taller, and very athletic. The Hovas for many years 
paid tribute to the Sakalavas, until Eadama I. invaded their territory 
and maiTied their chief's daughter. They still carry on a slaA^e trade 
from the east coast of Africa, at the rate of four head of cattle for one 
slave. Although the Hova claim the sovereignty of Madagascai', and 
have made treaties with the Englisli as to the slave trade, they are 
powerless to prevent the Sakalavas from carrying it on, as they have 
only one station in the country of the latter. Lieutenant Oliver pro- 
ceeded to enlarge upon many of the other tribes, and then spoke of 
the existence of caste, of polygamy, and of the peculiar custom of 
forcing the crows of vessels to pass one night with females of the 
island before sujjph'ing the vessels with water, provisions, etc. He 
also enumerated their jjunishmeuts and penalties, and spoke generally 
of their singular habits and customs. 

On the motion of the President, the thanks of the meeting were 
unanimously given to Lieut. Oliver for the paper. 

Lieut. Eardley Wilmot bore evidence to the truth of all the state- 
ments in the paper, in which everything was stated rather under the 
tact than exaggerated. The Hovas, he believed, were of Malay origin, 
and they were difi'erent from the people of the surrounding tribes, 
"^riiey bore no resemblance in features to African Negroes. 

Dr. King stated some j>articulars relative to the ambassadors sent 

Proceedings of the Society. cxxi 

to this country from Madagascar, whom he had the opportunity of 
observing, and of ascertaining from them individually what was the 
character of tlie people. He believed those ambassadors to have been 
decidedly of mongrel kinds, and that out of the six there was only one 
who had an approximation to the African type. He could not trace 
their langiiage to any source, nor tell where they came from. The 
average appearance of menstruation is at fifteen years of age, and they 
never produced offspring under that age. 

Dr. EvBLEiGH said the paper conveyed much new matter of an im- 
portant character. Mr. Jones had made different statements to him, 
which confinned the descriptions given by Lieutenant Oliver. With 
regard to the period of menstruation, alluded to by Dr. King, he said 
he had been practising out of England for twenty-two years, and he 
had known girls menstruate at eight, nine, and ten years of age, and 
he had alluded to the confinement of a girl of thirteen. With regard 
to the probability of Madagascar having been at one time connected with 
Africa, he observed that copal gum grows all along the south west coast 
of the island, and as the same product occurs on the opjJosite coast of 
Africa, that fact seems to indicate a connection with the continent in 
former times. Lichen and other vegetable i^roducts on the opposite 
coasts seemed also to correspond. The language of the Gallas and 
others of the African tribes seemed to be similar to that of the Hovas, 
as was remai'kable in a peciiliar clich in the p)ronunoiation of certain 
words. As regards the natural productions of the country, he be- 
lieved the natives cultivated many things extensively. The rice they 
produced was very good, and boiled peculiarly soft and white, being 
in that respect quite unlike Patna rice. Copal gum might be col- 
lected in Madagascar to almost any extent. With respect to the 
eighteen thousand Christians said to be among the Hovas, he observed 
that Mr. Jones estimated them, when he left the island, at one thou- 
sand, but said that Eadahunia was anxious to introduce Christianity, 
because, from the excellence of its moral doctrines, it was calculated 
to do good. As to the Madagascans themselves, whenever he had exa- 
mined them as a race, he had great difficidty in finding out their 
origin. The Bachati tribe were particidarly mentioned, who seemed, 
from the accounts of them, to be analogous to the Bushmen of South 
Africa. Their stature was generally very short, not exceeding, in some 
instances, four feet. Their knowledge of the arts extended to the 
working in gold and silver, and they make straw baskets fitting inside 
one another to the number of twelve, similar to those made by the 
Hindoos ; and their manufactures seemed more likely to have been 
introduced from India than from any other country. The slave trade, 
which was practised to a great extent, was probably introduced from 

Dr. Seemann thought there was some contradiction in that part of 
the jjaper which referred to the remnants of ancient civilisation among 
the Hovas, and on the comjsarison of them with the former occupants 
of Nicaragua, for the latter exhibited a high degree of civilisation. 
With regard to the origin of the Hovas, it appeared to him that they 
v.'ere a Malay tribe, though in that opinion he knew he was opposed 

cxxii Journal of the Anthropological Society. 

to Mr. Crawfurd. There was an identity in the name of the cocoa- 
nut, a jjahn endemic to America. AVith resjJect to the supposed nation 
of dwarfs, lie thought they miglit be similar to tlie Andaman islanders, 
who were of the Papuan race. There were many resemblances be- 
tween the Hovas and the Polj'uesiaus, among which he instanced the 
practice of taboo. 

Mr. DfiKDr said he considered Lieutenant Oliver's paper one of the 
most illustrative of any he had heard in that Society. He would, 
however, confine his remarks on it chiefly to that portion which re- 
ferred to nomenclature. The difference and confusion of terms fre- 
quently used in speaking of different races tended much to retard the 
progress of science. The term Negro, for instance, was applied to 
several different races. Originally it was applied to every dark man 
who came from Africa. He presented two sketches of crania from the 
Mozambique, marked in a museum catalogue in London as Negroes, 
which he said were most unlike the skull of a genuine African Negro, 
a s|)ecimen of which he exhibited, which he believed was the finest 
African skull in England. There was no similarity between it and 
the skulls of Hovas, which had been produced, or his sketches, which 
Lieutenant Oliver, in reply, pronounced to be Hovas. He thought it 
was very desirable that they should not api^ly the term African Negro 
to capriciously coloured races, but that the term should be confined 
to the Negro of South Africa. 

Dr. Wood asked Lieutenant Oliver what he meant when speaking 
of the civilisation of the Madagascans. Some of the Indian tribes of 
America were said to be civilised, but they produced nothing. Had 
these pieople of Madagascar any manufactures *? The term civilisation 
was generally very vaguely applied, and it ought in such instances to 
be more defined. 

Mr. Blyth thought more importance should be attached to the con- 
sideration of the kinds of animals and plants in Madagascar as indica- 
tions of the origin of the Hovas. The domestic kinds seemed to be 
similar to those of India and of many parts of Western Africa. As 
the Arabs had had intercourse with them for many years, he considered 
it strange that Ai'ab influence and the Mahommedan creed were not 
greater and more extended. 

Mr. Lyle remarked, respecting the fact of early menstruation, that 
he had known cases of menstruation in England at eleven and thirteen 
years of age. 

Professor Macdonald thought the Hova skull produced more like 
the skulls of mountaineers in all parts of the world than the skull of 
an African negro. He believed in the separate centres of creation of 
the different races adapted to different parts of the world, and that 
the coast and midland mountains had peculiar creations adapted to 
them. He thought the general movement of the human races had 
been from the east towards the west ; that the different races were 
originally created in special centres ; that the Hovas originally be- 
longed to the mountain races of Madagascar, having no connection 
with the Malays or Negro races. 

Mr. Walkbe expressed the opinion that the Hovas were of African 

Proceedinga of tlie Society. oxxiii 

origin, and that the Madagasoans generally came originally from 

Mr. Mackenzie inquired whether Lieutenant Oliver had found 
among the Madagasoans any of the blue-eyed females, of whom he had 
read, and, if so, whether he had ascertained anything respecting their 
origin 1 He also wished to know whether any of the peculiar double 
bellows found in Sumatra and among soiue other savage tribes had 
been seen in Madagascar. In his opinion the Hovas were not of 
African origin, but Malay. 

The Pbbsidbstt said that the Hova skull produced was considered 
by some joersons to resemble that of the east African negro, but he 
thought there was nothing about it to warrant that assumption. The 
hair was a characteristic of African races. If the Hovas were of African 
origin, he should expect to find that they had the crisp curly kind of 
hair of the African negro, but it appeared from Lieutenant Oliver's 
descrijjtion, that the hair of the Hovas was generally of a different 
kind, and that only a few of them had curly hair. He thought it was 
very desirable that they should have specimens of their hair, in order 
to assist in forming an opinion of their origin. The jjaper was one 
of the most important and interesting that could be brought before 
any scientific bodj^ 

Lieutenant Oliver remarked, before addressing himself to answer 
the numerous questions put to him, that his i3aj)er had originated 
from questions put to him by the President of the Ethnological Society 
at the late meeting of the British Association at Dundee, as to " the 
comparison between the red men of America and the black men of 
Africa as seen in Madagascar" of which he had been reminded in the 
last number of the Anthropological Review. Now he wished to shew in 
this paper that the Malagasy were widely distinct from the Negro or 
black man of Africa. 

In reply to Dr. King, he did not consider that the ambassadors 
from Madagascar, either in 1835 or 1864, were select specimens of 
the true Hova type, a-nd were possibly mongrel, but as a rule the 
Hovas presented the characteristics of a jjure race, distinct from the 
darker tribes surrounding them ; tlie question of the generation of in- 
fants by parents at such an early age, as mentioned in the paper, had, 
he thought, been sufficiently answered already that evening. He was 
much struck with the j)regnant suggestion of Dr. Seemann that the 
dwarf race of the Vazimba might be of Papuan origin, this can only 
be corroborated by opening some of the tumuli and examining their 
remains, which hitherto, owing to the jealous superstition of the 
natives, has been impossible ; in exterior appearance and apiparent 
construction only, they resembled the Nicaraguan barrows, with cen- 
tral upright stone or pillar. With regard to the manner in which the 
" taboo" was carried out, a pole with a small bundle of dried grass 
attached to the top of it, was placed at the entrance of any enclosure 
or building, which the idol-keepers might wish to preserve as sacred, 
this was called a " hiady," and was quite sufficient to prohibit the 
entrance of the vulgar herd. It is curious that the Malagasy, if of 
Malay origin, should be such bad sailors, they having no sea-going 

oxxiv Journal of the Anthrojpological Society. 

native craft, and their pirogues in use on their lakes and rivers are 
of the most primitive construction ; in this respect tliey are far inferior 
to any known islanders throughout the world. 

The skull, of which the drawing is exhibited as coming from 
Mujamb's bay, is evidently the skull of a Hova, many of whom were 
slain in the numerous affrays between them and the adjacent Sakal- 
ai'as in the vicinity of their fort on the coast of Majumba Bay. 

As to the state of civilisation to which they had advanced, he 
would remind Dr. Wood that there was always a difficulty in defining 
the exact state of civilisation to which any jjarticular race had at- 
tained, indeed it is not so long since that the Russians were looked 
upon by us as thorough barbarians. A writer in the Saturday Hevieiv at 
the beginning of last year, took the author to task for terming the Mala- 
gasy " half -civilised,"'"' because the young ladies at the capital dressed 
in white muslin, and danced the lanoei-s, (he might here mention that 
they danced not only the lancers but Sir Roger de Coverley, called by 
them " coverlids," entering fully into the spirit of it.) But they had 
advanced themselves to such a state of society that they possessed com- 
fortable, well-built houses, farms, and a system of agrioultiu-e, they 
domesticated cattle, held markets, had formed a code of laws, esta- 
blished an army, and had their law-officers assisted by a police, they 
levied taxes and customs, and had been lately fully recognised by at 
least the English, French, and American governments. 

With regard to their natural productions, from time immemorial 
they had cultivated rice and the sugar-cane, which are indigenous ; in- 
deed, it is stated on good authority, that rice and the sugai--cane were 
first imported into Virginia from Madagascar ; the native cattle, under 
domestication, possess humjss, but, curiously enough, the wild ones 
did not, a fact worthy of the notice of Mr. Darwin. Their sheep 
were fat-tailed and woolly, and made remarkably good mutton. 

At to the copal gum. Dr. Meller, who accompanied the expedition 
as naturalist, pointed out abundance of these trees along the coast, 
and for several miles inland, up to a level of one thousand feet. They 
grew to a large size, the trunk of one measured was twentj'-eight feet 
in circumference, with an enormous spread in proi^ortion, and was 
covered with fruit : there was but little collected by the natives, and 
that Lieutenant Oliver believed w-as dug up If 

It was very possible that the Mandingo and other West African 
tribes might have similar Malay affinities to the Malagasy, and that 
the Bushmen might have some obscure connexion with the dwarfed 
Vazimba, and have a common Papuan origin. Mr. Wake had cer- 
tainly pointed out some remarkable similarities. Professor Mac- 
donald, on the other hand, would have them to believe that the 
Hovas, being evidently mountaineers, had a separate and special 

* The Ediiihiirgh Review of last October, in reviewing- Ellis's works, styles 
the Malagasy as half civilised ! — S. P. O. 

t On referring to Dr. Meller's report to the late Sir W. Hooker, it ap- 
pears that he says, ""Very little gnm is collected; the natives incise the 
bark, and fi.x bamboos to receive the gum."- — S. P. O. 

Proceedings of the Society. oxxv 

oreation and origin in the highlands of Aiiljova, in which he thonght 
few could agree. In answer to Mr. Mackenzie, as to whether he had 
observed any blue-eyed individuals in Madagascar, although Eochon 
states some instances, he could give a decided negative in reply ; the 
double bellows mentioned were in use throughout the mining district 
south-east of Antananarivo. Finally, as to the question of their hair, 
before leaving the country of the Hovas several young ladies had 
presented him, and Mr. Eardley Wilmot also, he believed (assent from 
Mr. Wilmot), with some little souvenirs of regard, in the shape of 
neatly plaited locks of hair, and he hoped, at a future meeting, to 
exhibit these to the Society. 

Several diagrams were then exhibited and explained by Lieutenant 
Oliver, and the meeting adjourned. 

Mahoh 17th, 1868. 
De. James Hunt, F.S.A., etc.. President, in the Chaib. 

The minutes of the last meeting were read and confirmed. 

Thomas R. Pinches, Esq., of 27, Oxenden Street, Haymarket, was 
elected a Fellow. Professor Rudolph Virohow, of Berlin, was elected 
an Honorary Fellow. M. Louis Leguay, of Paris, was elected a Cor- 
responding Member. 

The following presents, received since the last meeting, were an- 
nounced, viz. : — 


From the Society — Proceedings of the American Antiquarian Society. 
From Kenneth E. H. Maokenzie, Esq., F.S.A., F.A.S.L. — Medical 

Gymnastics. By Moritz Schreber, Esq., M.D. 
From the Editor — The Farmers' Journal. 
From the Editor — ^Medical Circular, March 4th. 
From the Author — ^Ancient Faiths Embodied in Ancient Names. By 

Thomas Inman, Esq., M.D. 
From the Author — The Antiquity of Man in the South-west of 

England. By W. Pengelly, Esq. 
From the Author — The Geology of Devonshire. By W. Pengelly, Esq. 
From Kenneth R. H. Mackenzie, Esq. — The Art of Instructing 

Deaf and Dumb. By John Pauncefort Arrowsmith, Esq. 
From The Essex Institute, Salem, Massachusetts, U.S. — The Ame- 
rican Naturalist, vol. i. 
From The Institute — Proceedings of Essex Institute, vol. v. No. 1. 
From the Editor — Archiv fvir Anthropologic, vol. iii, part 3. 
From the Author — Vaccination, and its tested effects ; or Health, 

Morality, and Population. By Dr. Charles Pearce. 
From the Institute — Journal of the Royal United Service Institute, 

Deo. 1867.